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Antigovernment Extremists Fight the Law, and the Law Wins

Antigovernment Extremists Fight the Law, and the Law Wins

Activity by so-called “sovereign citizens” in recent months has continued apace, as misguided antigovernment extremists in all corners of the nation attempted to proclaim their immunity to the law and more.

A Louisiana man who greeted local law enforcement on Dec. 2 wearing a Kevlar helmet with a face mask and full body armor, with a knife strapped to his chest and carrying pepper spray, was subdued with a carefully aimed shot of pepper spray. He was charged with attempted aggravated battery, resisting an officer, illegal possession of body armor in the presence of narcotics and improper telephone communications.

Brandon D. Gibbs, 29, of Gonzales, La., who was known to area officials for his antigovernment views, reportedly threatened to shoot any city employee who came onto his property after his water was turned off due to nonpayment. The self-declared sovereign citizen, who told police he belongs to a 500-man militia training in Maurepas, La., wanted to be in the military but was deemed psychologically unfit for service. Bail was set at $13,064.50.

In Chicago, a woman described by the Chicago Sun-Times as “a loving and educated mother who until recently had a successful career” was sentenced to seven years in prison by a federal judge who accused her of inflicting “death by a thousand paper cuts.” Cherron Phillips, 44, filed numerous fake $100 billion liens against prosecutors and federal judges in an effort to retaliate against the system that imprisoned her brother for selling cocaine.

Phillips’ lawyer downplayed the severity of her crime and suggested that incarceration could make things worse, but the judge, who had been brought in from outside the district because Phillips had targeted local jurists, would have none of it, and imposed a sentence harsher than the one suggested by federal guidelines.

And in Massachusetts, the ironically named Christopher Noone denied that he was legally a person and told a prosecutor, “My mom never gave birth to me.” Noone, 21, was attempting to defend himself against a charge of driving without a license by asserting that as a sovereign citizen, he was not bound by law. A judge disagreed and fined him $500 plus $407 court costs, which Noone vowed to appeal. Noone was arrested again by state police after he defiantly drove away from the Newburyport District Courthouse.